Christmas is the season for joy, forgiveness, friends and family, however it’s also full of strange yet beautiful holiday traditions we follow without really understanding them. Ever wondered where your favorite holiday traditions came from?
Traditionally it is said that mistletoe should never touch the ground between being cut and its removal (it is to be the last of the greens removed from the house after the holiday season is over). It is supposed to be hung each year to protect the house from fire and any man and woman that met each other under it were obliged to kiss. After each kiss a berry was plucked from the bush, once all the berries were plucked the privilege ceased. The use of mistletoe as a Christmas decoration is very common and originally began way back in the 18th century.
The Christmas tree originally began in Germany in the early Renaissance with the decorating of pine or fir trees with apples, roses, candies and colored paper. Legend says, the first person to bring a Christmas Tree into a house, in the way we know it for the holiday, may have been the 16th century German preacher Martin Luther. A story is told that, one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas.
The Christmas Pickle
A pickle seems like an odd thing to make into a holiday ornament, yet you’ve probably seen glass pickle ornaments at Christmas markets or hanging from a friend’s tree. Those familiar with the odd decoration know that it’s always the last ornament to be hung on the tree on Christmas Eve, and the first child to find it on Christmas morning is usually rewarded with one of three things: the privilege of opening the first gift, receiving an extra gift or being granted a year of good luck.
But perhaps even weirder than the custom itself is the fact that no one seems to have any idea where it originated. Everyone has their theories, of course, but none of them seems to hold water. Its origins may always be a mystery, but the Christmas pickle is a sweet tradition to add to the fun of Christmas morning — and, surprisingly, it’s not a bad-looking holiday ornament either.
There is a lot of confusion surrounding where the tradition of Christmas or holiday stockings came from but several popular legends have found ways to try and explain it. It starts with the story of an old man with three beautiful daughters who worried that their impoverished status would make it impossible for them to marry. St Nicholas was riding through the village and heard of this story, understanding that the old man would not accept charity he crept down the chimney that night and found stockings that the daughters had hung by the fireplace to dry. Into these 3 stockings he placed a bag of gold each, the next morning the 3 beautiful women and their father were overjoyed and soon after the women were married. Ever since adults and children alike have hung stockings by the fireplace or at the end of their beds to be filled with presents while they sleep, ready to be joyfully opened the next morning!
According to popular history in 1670 a German choirmaster wanted a way to get the children to be quiet in his church during Christmas Eve ceremonies. He asked the local sweet maker to make sticks for the children. The delicious candy canes then spread through Europe while being given out at nativity plays. The first historical reference in America to the candy cane dates back to 1847. A German immigrant from Wooster, Ohio decorated his Christmas tree with candy canes. In 2012 a Geneva pastry chef broke the Guinness World Record by creating the world’s longest candy cane, measuring at 51 feet long. This year an estimated 1.9 billion candy canes will be made in many different flavors, not just the traditional peppermint. Here’s an easy holiday recipe to follow to make your own.
The plant and its associations with Christmas stem from Mexico, where the story of a poor young girl was inspired to pick weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church, the weeds became poinsettias when beautiful crimson blossoms sprouted. From the 17th century friars in Mexico incorporated these bright flowers into their Christmas holiday celebration, as they believe the flowers have a special symbolism. The star shape of the leaf symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem and the red symbolizes the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Christ. Today these beautiful flowers are popular Christmas decorations, with December 12th being National Poinsettia Day.
As can be seen many of these traditions are old with several centuries of history but that doesn’t make them any less important or special today. All six of the listed traditions are some of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday season that anyone from the young children, to grandparents can participate in. As 2017 approaches Real Property Management wishes you a beautiful holiday season and a new year of peace and happiness.
With 20+ years experience in residential and investment real estate sales, property management and consultation, Matt is an Ohio licensed Realtor currently working as Sales Manger at Real Property Management. Contact him directly at [email protected] or on twitter @CincySalesGuy